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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

No Bus Gates for Blue Badge Holders

Aberdeen City Council must act to ensure the rights of disabled Aberdonians are upheld

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

The new bus gate on Guild Street. Photo Credit: FUBAR News

Aberdeen City Council announced plans to create priority bus routes in the city centre last month.

Plans were set in motion last summer when councillors approved the City Centre Masterplan- which included the priority route provision.

With the introduction of the bus gates, cars will be banned from Bridge Street, Market Street (north of Guild Street), Guild Street (east of Wapping Street).

The decision to restrict cars from these key thoroughfares is not our primary issue with the scheme.

Rather, the Council must consider the impact the scheme will have on disabled Aberdonians, many of whom have told us they feel that the layout of the city centre is already hostile and unaccommodating.

As Fiona Robertson, a Aberdeen-based poet and disability rights activist, told us:

‘Environmental policies are good and it's right that we should be implementing them, and there are plenty of ways to do that without excluding disabled people from the city centre if they work with us from the beginning.’

Similarly, Katrina Allan, manager of charity Shopmobility, said the new restrictions will have a detrimental effect on those with disabilities.

She commented: ‘The access to the railway station car park and the drop off point for the bus station has become significantly more difficult with the installation of the bus priority routes, further restricting the movement of elderly and disabled people.’

Indeed, the voices of disabled folks must be listened to. For those who rely on cars to get around, whether due to limited mobility or other impairments which restrict the use of public transport, the new bus gates may be harmful.

That is why we are calling on Councillors to provide an exemption to the new rules for blue badge holders.

Taxis and goods vehicles will be allowed to travel through the priority route- shouldn't disabled Aberdonians receive the same exemption?

Disability is a protected characteristic under the 2010 Equality Act.

This means the Council has an added responsibility to ensure that the rights of such individuals are upheld.

Bus gates which close off some of the busiest streets in the city to those who are unable to travel on foot or via bus are unfair.

The desire to cut down on emissions is admirable and important. However, it cannot be at the expense of some of the most vulnerable.

Please visit the link below to sign our petition calling on Councillors to support the rights of disabled Aberdonians.


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